Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days.
We don’t love discipline. We didn’t love it as children, and we still don’t as adults. We don’t like to be told we are wrong or need correction. Yet, true wisdom comes only with humility, when we lay down our pride and stop insisting that we always be right. This means we have to open ourselves up to correction. We need the people who love us and care for us to speak the truth in love to us—both when we are right and when we are wrong (Prov. 27:6).
Today’s proverb embodies what it means to have a teachable spirit. As disciples of Christ, we are learners. That is the very definition of the word. To spend our lives as learners of Christ, we must always remain teachable. We must put ourselves in the posture to not only learn and be instructed by others, but also to be challenged and corrected by others. Now more than ever, the church is in desperate need of those who can lay down their pride, sit before those who have had different experiences, and allow some of our preconceived notions to be challenged. We need to learn from brothers and sisters in the faith who know more about issues that we don’t have as much experience with. We need to sit and listen with those who have experienced pain and suffering in different ways than we have. We need to have our ideas processed, sifted, challenged, and even corrected by those who are wiser than us.
Reconciliation between seemingly opposed groups doesn’t happen by accident or overnight. It doesn’t happen when everyone believes they are right and are unwilling to have their thoughts and opinions challenged or changed. Injustices won’t be set right if we are more concerned about coming out as the winner. If we desire to see the truth of the gospel saturate the world around us, we must allow it to first saturate us and bring us to a place of humility. We must be individuals who open their lives, hearts, and minds to be lovingly corrected on the road to wisdom.
• Who in your life challenges the way you think? Who is willing to lovingly correct you when your words and ways do not reflect Jesus?
• Is this an experience you have personally had? When has someone cared enough to confront the wrong thinking or behavior in your life? How did they point you to Jesus?
• Ask the Lord for true humility that allows you to receive loving reproof.